Mandela team are climbing for our schoolgirls
THE Trek4Mandela team were on the same flight to Tanzania as Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel.
When the flight touched down on Tanzanian soil, Machel told the hikers it was a good omen that they had shared the flight.
She wished them well before the group continued from the capital, Dar es Salaam, on their trip to Marangu where they were due to begin their trek up Mount Kilimanjaro today.
Yesterday, the team enjoyed a rest day before attending a final briefing with their team leader, explorer Sibusiso Vilane.
One of the other veteran hikers on the trail is Arthur Marsden, who has summited Kilimanjaro three times and is an experienced GrandSlam adventurer.
He has summited seven peaks, in addition to the one-man journey to both the North and South Pole.
This year, for Liberty’s 60-year anniversary, he has teamed up with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Imbumba Foundation to try to raise funds for about 600 schoolgirls.
Marsden said he hoped to raise R216 000 in six days, which translates into R36 000 a day. It will take the team six days to complete the trek. Marsden said succeeding was like climbing a mountain… you need physical and mental stamina.
“For women, it’s just a bit harder. When reading the statistics stating that less than 2% of girls make it to tertiary education, in part because of something as simple as having no sanitary products, the reality really hits home,” he said.
“When a girl child misses nearly 50 days a year of school, it has far-reaching implications, in turn leading to fewer female leaders in our businesses and boardrooms,” Marsden added.
He said the cause was also close to his heart because he has two daughters. “As men, it is vital that we take a stand and do everything in our power to bring dignity to our girls so they can grow up to be successful women who power our nation.”
GOOD OMEN: Graça Machel, widow of Nelson Mandela, was on the same flight to Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, as the Trek4Mandela group climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.